A Surprising Visit from the Angel Gabriel Changes Everything
Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church Newsletter
Weekly Happenings at SHPC
December 4, 2014

The Second Sunday of Advent 

The New Has Come! 


     Do you embrace change?  There are a few of us who regularly seek the new and unfamiliar, but especially at this time of year, many prefer tradition and find the familiar comforting. For most of us, sudden life changing surprises are challenging.  These "one way doors" put us in touch with the limits of our own control of our life experience.  This can be very stressful, but offers us a spiritual growth opportunity!  


     This Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. we'll time travel back to Nazareth to experience the life changing visit of the Angel Gabriel to young Mary.  Then we'll explore how we deal with life changes, and how to open up to the opportunity for transformation which Jesus brings to each of us. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the Church Boys and the SHPC Singers will bring us music of the season, and soloist Jen Boynton will sing O Holy Night.  Our scripture passages are Isaiah 11:1-9 and Luke 1:26-38.

In This Issue
Bev piano
A Note from 
Pastor Bev

Monday night our REST (Rotating Emergency Shelter Team) volunteers welcomed 21 men from the unhoused community to a delicious dinner and a safe, warm evening at St. Rita's. It was a great experience!  

Many thanks to Shannon Mong (team leader) and Lucas Russell, Luke and Kit Argilla and Kara Argilla Harris and Chris Harris, Scott Hamilton, Robin Holway, and Tom Crowell.  

This is a wonderful opportunity to practice the hospitality of Jesus and to experience our shared humanity.    

The holiday season can be challenging for those of us who have issues with health, finances, alcohol/drugs, and/or loved ones. Please feel free to call or email me if you would like a visit.

In peace,



December Calendar

Thursday, December 4
7:00 p.m.

SHPC Singers Rehearse at Church

Friday, December 5
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, December 7

9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

2nd Sunday in Advent - The New Has Come!
Embracing Change-  Yikes!
Guest soloist Jen Boynton sings 
O Holy Night
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, December 11
7:00 p.m.

SHPC Singers Rehearse at Church

Friday, December 12
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, December 14

9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

3rd Sunday in Advent - The New Has Come!
Christmas Pageant - How Do We Show Our Love?
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, December 18
7:00 p.m.

SHPC Singers Rehearse at Church

Friday, December 19
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, December 21

9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
5:00 p.m.

4th Sunday of Advent - The New Has Come!
Let's Re-Purpose
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!
Holiday Music Fest

Wednesday, December 24
7:00 p.m.

Candlelit Christmas Eve - Our Surprising God



Bible Study - Friday, Dec. 5
Noon - Isa. 11:1-9, Lk. 1:26-38
Bible Study meets at noon on Fridays in the Pastor's office, except this week! Whatever your experience with the Bible might be, you are welcome to come and learn and make meaningful friendships.  
Angels Will Never Let You Fall...


I've been reading a lot about angels lately, and when you do, you see that angels have been described as God's couriers, God's messengers, and God's envoys. Angels carry God's virtue, protect God's people, and represent God's very presence. They have been described as making beautiful music, having a free will, and are dedicated to worshiping God.


Angels are mentioned 290 times in the Bible (115 times in the Old Testament and 175 times in the New Testament). Recently, Time, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook and a host of other popular magazines have carried articles about angels.


So the fascination with angels and all they represent is a spectacular exploration - especially this time of year. We see them carved into snowdrifts, hung as ornaments on Christmas trees, baked into cookies, and thought of as living and flying through the great "beyond."


I believe angels have a distinct role in God's intended blueprint for our lives, and yes, I believe angels really exist. Psalm 91:11 says "For God will put you into the care of angels to keep you wherever you go" and in Psalm 34:7 the Bible states "God orders his angels to protect and guard you." So there really is a basis for our feeling guarded and protected by contemporary living angels. How cool is that?


Think about it. As you go to and fro, experience challenges, and get in harm's way, you have the assurance that angels are with you. Some of us have felt them.  


In Luke 2:13-14 the scriptures reveal, "And suddenly, there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is well pleased." This December, let's give it our all and commit to praising and worshiping all that God is, all that God does, and all that God is accomplishing, just like the angels do. We might even think of ourselves as the "Angels of Sleepy Hollow" (sounds like a new TV series).


From Chicago (brrrrr!)  ... "Angel" Paul


Please Remember in Your Prayers
Praying Hands

The family of Kris Cadigan;

Jean Brockett, mother of Jody, for full recovery, and for Jody and her father;

Carolyn O'Hara, for healing, and for strength and support during her recovery;

Evan Peltzman, for healing and complete recovery from a broken heel, and for strength and support during his recovery;

Andrea Proster, for complete healing, and for her sister Nancy Elberg, for strength in companioning her;

Clyde Ongaro, and his loved ones, for God's comforting presence;

Jerry Lambert, for healing, and for blessed assurance of God's constant presence;

For the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and for a way forward to bring justice where racial injustice prevails;

For those dealing with financial stress as the holidays approach;

For the sick, for health and hospital workers, and for the family and loved ones of all those impacted by Ebola virus;

For the unhoused community as the winter rains come without a permanent shelter in Marin County, and for our local government, for the wherewithal to create and fund a permanent shelter;

For the caretakers, that they may have more rest and joy;

For all those living in places of darkness and violence, for peace, shared humanity, health, housing, food, and hope.


Please take time this week to pray for those on our list.


Back to the top 

SHPC Children and Youth - 

We expecially need YOU for the next two Sundays


December 7th - Pageant rehearsal for all children and youth during the service; Hand chimes rehearse and MOLOTH meets after the service;


December 14th - PLEASE ARRIVE AT 9 a.m. for COSTUMING!  Christmas Pageant -- bring family and friends!


Volunteers Needed for REST!


SHPC is providing meals and a warm welcome to our unhoused neighbors on the first Monday (men at St. Rita's in Fairfax) and second Tuesday (women at the Wellness Center in San Rafael) of each month from December 2014 - April 2015.  


Volunteers are needed!!  Information and sign-ups available online:



If you'd like more information about the program, you can contact Shannon Mong at shannon@in-sightassociates.com 



With thanks,

The REST Team


Let's Talk! is on Holiday Break - See you in January for more fascinating discussions!

Richard Peltzman
Matt Ehlen
Cathy Sarkisian
Fred Morfit

Food Barrel Ministry & Donations

As Thanksgiving approaches, our own Wil and Betty Swalberg want to remind us that donations of non-perishable food items are greatly appreciated! Here are some suggestions for food items to donate:


Canned Proteins: tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter


Canned Fruits (in own juice or light syrup preferred): pears, peaches, pineapple, fruit cocktail


Fruit Juices (100% juice preferred): all sizes including juice boxes


Grains: pasta, rice, macaroni & cheese


Packaged Beans: pinto, black, great north


Canned Vegetables (low sodium/no salt added preferred): corn, carrots, green beans, peas, spinach, mixed veggies


Soups, Stews & Chili: vegetarian and meat


Multigrain Cereals: Cheerios, Cornflakes, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran, Kashi, etc.


Alternative foods: wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan



With gratitude,

Wil and Betty Swalberg


Donate Santa Gifts for Marin Foster Children

The Marin Foster Parent Association (MFPA) is hosting their annual Holiday Party for foster children and their foster parents on Sunday, Dec. 14th at 12:00 p.m. Our own Frankie Eakes is working directly with MFPA to coordinate gift donations for the children. Please consider donating a Santa Gift for one or more of the children who will be attending this wonderful celebration! There will be about 30 children in attendance, if you'd like to donate a new gift please choose from the following age ranges:

Infants: two children (1 boy, 1 girl)
2-5 years: seven children (4 boys, 4 girls)
6-11 years: twelve children (9 boys, 3 girls)
12-17 years: seven children (4 boys, 4 girls)


Please gift wrap the item and indicate the age, what the item is and attach to the gift-wrapped item. A collection box will be at SHPC in the Fellowship Hall for the donated gifts. You can also bring the items to church on Sunday, Dec. 7th or 14th.


Please feel free to contact Frankie directly at 415-377-3811 with any questions.


Click on the link for more information about MFPA: www.mfpa.net



With gratitude,

Frankie Eakes


Mayflower Chorus Holiday Performances


Our very own Cathy Sarkisian joins the Mayflower Chorus as they rekindle the joys of childhood, winter, gifts, laughter, family, music, and the comfort of faith as everyone reminisces together in song and story.  Mark your calendar so you won't miss seeing the Mayflower Chorus perform!


Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13 @ 8:00 p.m. 
Marin Center Showcase Theater
10 Avenue of the Flags
San Rafael
Advance tickets: 415-473-6800 or www.marincenter.org

Sunday, Dec. 14 @ 3:30 p.m.
Aldersgate Methodist Church
1 Wellbrock Heights
San Rafael
Advance tickets: Jeans to a T (1314 2nd Street, San Rafael) or Brown Paper Tickets

Tickets are available at the door for all performances.

$18 - Adult

$15 - Senior (60+), Student (13 - 18)

$5 - Children (12 and under)



415-491-9110 or www.mayflowerchorus.org


Performances support the activities and programs of the non-profit Mayflower Choral Society


Warm Wishes Backpack Assembly and Distribution Day - Dec. 6th


Marin County is not immune to the persistent problem of homelessness. Estimates place the number of homeless residents in Marin between 1,770 and 6,000, and school officials say there are at least 1,500 homeless children. Let's help them all stay warm this winter. Warm Wishes creates a personal relationship between our volunteers and the street community when once a year volunteers distribute 5,000 "Street Packs" or backpacks stuffed with new, warm gloves, scarves, hats, wool socks and rain ponchos to homeless men, women and children, living on the streets of the Bay Area. 


JOIN US! for Street Pack assembly day:


Saturday, December 6th

9:00 a.m. SHARP

Unity in Marin

600 Palm Drive

Novato 94949



Coffee & treats! Lululemon Corte Madera will be on hand with free coffee and a morning treat for our hardworking volunteers.

Sign up to volunteer  

More Info: www.warmwishes.org or call 415-472-0211. 


Now's your chance to share your cooking and your love! Thank you and bless you for taking a hot meal and your love to Wil and Betty on Wednesday nights.
It Takes a Village 


If the the noise around the coffee urn each Sunday is any indication, it sounds like most of the congregation enjoys Fellowship time following Sunday service.


Fellowship time is organized by your Deacons, but we rely on everyone pitching in to help. While each Parish is assigned a month for Fellowship, that time may not be convenient for your schedule. So now you can sign up online! Just click here and pick a Sunday that's most convenient for you.


You can choose to set up and make coffee, bring a savory snack, a sweet snack, supply juice for the kids and creamer for the coffee, or help with clean up. Please take a moment to sign up now... or wait until your Deacon calls on you for help in these months:


December - Parishes: Patti Eisinger and Carolyn Goodman

January 2015 - Parishes: Cat Caldwell and Nancy Elberg/Frankie Eakes

February 2015 - Parishes: Laura Taylor and Patti Eisinger

March 2015 - Parishes: Nancy Elberg/Frankie Eakes and Patti Eisinger


Sign up now before the good slots are all taken!


Greeters Needed for Sunday Mornings: December 14 and 21

Help with our ministry of hospitality by signing up to be a greeter!  All you have to do is get to church by 9:15, light the candles, and hand out bulletins with a smile. Thank you to all who have signed up so far!

Jody Brockett Schmetz, 
Worship Elder
World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) - Tell Congress to Stop Blocking Safe Needle Exchange

In 2010, the PC(USA) General Assembly called on us to become and "HIV and AIDS Competent Church," to engage in programs that "reduce stigma, discrimination, and fear of persons who have been diagnosed as HIV positive," and to support public policies that promote treatment and prevention.  Specifically, the Assembly called for increased federal "funding for critical HIV and AIDS research including research focused on (a) infants and children, (b) the risk behaviors of teenagers and comprehensive sexuality education curriculum for teens, and (c) underreported, indigenous, and special-needs populations."


An overwhelming consensus of research shows that providing clean syringes (needle exchange programs) to injection drug users is a highly effective way to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, and is credited with reducing the rate of new HIV infections among injection drug users by 80 percent. Additional research shows that syringe exchange programs do not increase the numbers of injection drug users, and reduces long term health care costs that occur with the medical needs of people with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.


But Congress prohibits federal funds that are already being spent on HIV prevention and treatment from being spent on needle exchange programs. Write to your Members of Congress here.


Needle Exchange is one of the key public health interventions that we need to implement a long-term strategy to end AIDS.  But in 2012, Congress reinstated the ban on using federal funds for needle exchange programs. The ban on federal funding for syringe exchange was originally adopted in 1989 but was finally lifted by Congress in 2009. Without a discussion or legislative debate, the language was slipped into the spending bill before advocates knew what was happening. Contact Congress and tell them to reverse the ban.


The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is on the record in support of Needle Exchange Programs - in 2000, the General Assembly approved an overture "advocate[ing]... for lifting the ban on the use of federal funds to support needle exchange programs [and] mandate[ing]... work to remove barriers that keep drug injectors at unnecessary risk for HIV disease and Hepatitis."


For more information on how to be involved in AIDS ministries, get in touch with the Presbyterian AIDS Network and download their World AIDS Day packet.


Write to your Member of Congress now to urge lifting the ban on life-saving needle exchange programs. 



Daily Devotions for Advent

The San Francisco Theological Seminary invites all to join the community in daily email devotions for the season of Advent from Dec. 1-25. Devotions are written by students, faculty, staff, alums, trustees, and are emailed near and far to those who wish to connect with SFTS during this season of waiting. The theme this year, "Listening for the Word Made Flesh," invites us to join the multitude in awaiting the arrival of the Word incarnate, Jesus the Christ, and look for signs that he is in our midst to this day. 


Just follow this link to sign up and receive emails.  


With thanks,

Lora East


40th Annual Service of Lessons & Carols: Listening for the World Made Flesh

Friday and Saturday, December 5th & 6th

7:00 p.m.


San Francisco Theological Seminary Stewart Chapel

105 Seminary Road

San Anselmo, CA 94960


The theme for the 40th annual Service of Lessons & Carols, "Listening for the Word Made Flesh," asks us to join the first Advent listeners to listen for a Word of Scripture and to listen for the Word made flesh in our midst.


Join us for a beautiful night of singing and worship in historic Stewart Memorial Chapel, followed by a reception with cookies and hot cider. This Christmas tradition attracts people from throughout Marin, from a broad spectrum of religious persuasions, making it one of the most popular campus events all year.


Our very own Lora East will be singing during this event!

Contemplative Service of Music & Light  - MOLOTH Welcome! 

Intern Lora East will be contacting our MOLOTH youth and families to see who's interested in attending this event.


Youth from several different spiritual traditions will lead a Contemplative Service of Music with simple teaching about the holy days that occur in the month of the winter solstice. All are welcome to this free public event.  


Tuesday, December 9th
7:30 p.m.

Congregation Rodef Sholom
170 N. San Pedro Road
San Rafael

For more info send an e-mail to: programs@marinifc.org or 
call (415) 456-6957

Please click on the link below to let us know you are coming:

We look forward to seeing you on December 9th!

With thanks,
Marin Interfaith Council

Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church, 
100 Tarry Road, San Anselmo, CA  94960
Allie Duro, Editor/Office Administrator
E-mail us at shpchurch@comcast.net or call us at 415-453-8221